Manufacturing Process Consulting
At its core, every business consists of a series of procedures. If there’s one essential document to be held as a reference for all these procedures, it should be the SOP document for the manufacturing industry. In a manufacturing unit, Standard Operating Procedure documents act as internal guides to create lean, efficient, and uniform workflows. It is essentially important in the manufacturing industry for operational and production processes to remain consistent and reliable. Streamlining and documenting the routine procedures within the manufacturing industry adds discipline to the culture, an element that is frequently neglected but essential for the manufacturing unit to take root. Standardization and documenting work are also enabled as a learning tool that supports audits, promotes problem solving, and involves team members in developing error prevention. In addition, you can increase efficiency of manufacturing operations and cut down costs by defining and documenting the procedures in place. This will also enable us to investigate solutions that account for variability and uncertainty during the production process. It is, therefore, necessary to appropriately plan and position employees, materials, machines, equipment, and other manufacturing supports and facilities to create the most effective and disciplined approach to work.
What is SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) in the manufacturing industry?
A manufacturing industry SOP is a documented instruction guide that helps workers to perform daily routine tasks to achieve desired outcomes. This is employed for both manual and automated tasks, and acts as a guide for safe work practices. In a manufacturing unit compliance with the factory promotes work consistency, prevents loss of quality, and retains brand reputation. It can also serve as a defence document to prove the manufacturing unit works taking into consideration all legal, health and safety protocols and guidelines as well. A manufacturing SOP also consists of preventive maintenance work orders, inspection audits, and quality-control checklists. The procedural checklists in the manufacturing SOP are supplemented with illustration, process flow charts, and linked resources to clarify work instructions leaving no gaps for confusion or misunderstanding. Overall, in a manufacturing unit or within a factory, SOP’s are crucial for achieving production-line efficiency, uniform performance (of both machines and workers), regulatory compliance, and high-quality final products.
This article explores the benefits of putting a manufacturing industry SOP in place.
- Standardization of Routine Processes
Having a manufacturing SOP in place across production lines and units ensures that workers always perform the task in the same way, regardless who takes up the task on a particular workday. This will allow management to streamline processes and give enough visibility to management helping them to evaluate decisions on how well a particular process works and measure the optimal outcome. As all the processes are now defined and documented in the manufacturing SOP, all the routine tasks and their expected results become transparent and predictable and this makes planning much easier. Meanwhile, this is empowering for managers as well as staff, as any process variations can now be steered easily, and staff can know in advance what outcome is now expected, eliminating any process inconsistencies.
- Easier Compliance and Quality Assurance
All manufacturing units must comply with a set of international, national or sector specific standards. Documenting these standards and protocols serves as a control mechanism to help you comply with all these rules and regulations. Audit operations by product and facility inspectors are frequent within a manufacturing unit. The manufacturing SOP can serve as crucial defence documentation to prove that procedures are performed within the industry guidelines in the factory unit. A factory SOP is a crucial part of a quality assurance plan
- Reduction of Waste
By standardizing and documenting routine tasks within a SOP for a manufacturing unit, it becomes easy to spot any bottlenecks or waste of resources in the process. Once these issues are identified and resolved the production unt can now work in a more economical way regarding raw materials, energy, machinery, and human capital.
- Knowledge Retention
One of the major challenges faced by large scale production units is constant entry and exit of new and old employees respectively. This makes it more crucial to retain and document existing knowledge regarding specialized processes, machinery, installation etc. By writing a manufacturing SOP, it becomes easier to retain knowledge. By drafting clear instructions within a factory SOP, it becomes less likely to lose important information and knowledge when someone leaves the factory. In addition to this, a factory Sop can also be used to train new employees and onboard them reducing any delay in the business.
- Better and Reliable Inventory Management
Efficient inventory management plays a huge role in sustainable and continuous manufacturing with the aim of just-in-time supply. A reliable supply with efficient inventory levels requires accurate prediction of production rates. Having a factory SOP in place implements standard reporting of internal and external variables allowing accurate prediction of manufacturing required at any point to satisfy customer demand and thus, specify the inventory needed.
A manufacturing industry SOP helps to generate high quality products at a pace that matches market demand. It allows manufacturing organisations to achieve all the benefits of scale from standardization and streamlining of processes at the same time giving freedom to customize processes and remain competitive. If you are thinking of getting your grip on implementing an SOP within your manufacturing unit or factory unit and reap the rewards, besides the right tools you also need the right people to guide you. DFX can help guide you through the process and set your factory/manufacturing unit on the right track. DFX comes with years of experience in manufacturing industry consulting solutions as well drafting thoughtfully crafted and documented Standard Operating Procedures. The experts at DFX can custom design and implement SOPs suited for production or factory units like creation of reusable SOP templates for hierarchical checklists, create, assign and track recurring work orders, organize assets, parts and inventory data etc. through zero elimination of errors in the operation process that can hamper the growth.
Organisational design and structure is a universal requirement for any business or non-business institution. It ensures that the different roles and positions required have been identified and mapped within a functional framework. It identifies the various departments, authority-responsibility relationships, the chain of command, communication routes, flow of work, etc. This module brings forth the fundamental theories and best practices for building a robust organizational structure derived from practical experience of manufacturing process consulting.
Sales & Business Development
Sales and business development assumes a slightly different shade in the manufacturing industry. Firstly, different processes or departments in a manufacturing cycle have different product criteria. For instance, a product or its packaging may carry a different and unique set of specifications to suit the requirements of inventory management and that of production. Secondly, the sales team needs to be technically sound to be able to successfully and convincingly explain product features and give demonstrations. Thirdly, in the case of B2B sales, the window for marketing and product demonstration may be very small but could be of significant revenue volume. This module will cover the nuances of sales and business development in the manufacturing industry and how well-defined processes can be built to facilitate these activities.
B2B / D2C Online Sales
Many manufacturing industry consulting experts could vouch that the emergence of ecommerce has set forward a trend where not only customers but even businesses have shown preference to bulk inventory purchases from online manufacturers and suppliers over retail purchases. Businesses see this as a direct and hassle-free way of transacting. It gets rid of negotiations and bargaining and presents an open and transparent market. The same benefits and perception sustain for online D2C sales. In this module, the best practices and processes governing B2C/D2C online sales shall be explored.
Production management in manufacturing essentially refers to the process of transforming raw materials into finished goods. What constitutes raw materials for one manufacturer could be the finished goods (output) of another business and the finished goods of one manufacturer could be the input for another manufacturer. The transformation of input to output is what comes under operations management for a manufacturing plant or business. This module shall delve into creating robust operations management using SOPs and process management.
Warehousing serves the function of storage of raw materials and finished goods. Both inputs that come from suppliers as raw materials and output or finished goods that go out to distributors or for sales/distribution need to be stored temporarily by manufacturers. Managing warehousing activities calls for meticulous planning and execution. Several constraints and objectives have to be considered to ensure that the warehousing function contributes to the business objectives. In this module, the incumbents shall be briefed about planning and mapping warehousing processes and operations for manufacturing business.
Logistics & Distribution
Raw materials and finished goods move in a supply chain through logistical solutions. Logistics is another name for transportation and facilitating activities. From sourcing of inputs to distribution of output to various points or hubs for brick and mortar sales or ecommerce order fulfilment, the logistic function plays the role of the carrier. It has to be synchronized with purchase planning, market demand assessments, and order fulfilment. This module shall examine the use of SOPs and process management for stronger logistical operational planning and operations.
Procurement refers to the purchase activities of a business enterprise. It deals with how a business carries out its decisions pertaining to the purchase of input materials and office consumables. In a manufacturing context, it is more about the raw material and supplies. Procurement is a sensitive function because it affects whether or not a manufacturer will be able to produce the required quantity and quality of output on schedule. The procurement decision-making process can be planned and executed with utmost precision in alignment with the production and marketing objectives. This module will explore how procurement activities can be streamlined using SOPs.
Marketing in manufacturing business largely depends on the complexity of the product. More complex and industrial products are usually expensive items. Such products require a client-oriented marketing approach. On the other hand, simple products of mass demand that require no special expertise for use are promoted through mass marketing channels like non-personalized digital marketing campaigns or print media. In this module, the various marketing strategies and process solutions for different types of manufacturing businesses will be discussed and examined in detail.
After Sales Service
After-sales service is a critical component in the manufacturing business, especially when complex and technical products are in question. In the absence of reliable and consistent after-sales services, the products may be rendered useless in the event of any defect or malfunction. Good brands know this and they have robust support service systems and networks. This module shall explain how strong support and service systems can be built and sustained using SOPs.
Research and development in manufacturing aims for improvisations in the existing ways of working, building new processes and systems, and incorporating new machines and technologies. Without defined processes and operations to carry out the existing ways of working, it is difficult to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the system. In this module, the role of SOPs will be highlighted in carrying out the research and development process of a manufacturing enterprise.
HR | Learning & Development
Many big, reputed companies perceive their human resources as long-term partners. Salaries are not enough to achieve the true goals of human resource management. This necessitates that efforts are made for the enhancement of the skills, knowledge, and overall development of the employees keeping in mind a long future ahead. Most employees indeed change jobs because of their career priorities. However, that does not deter people-oriented organizations from not seeking long-term HR and L&D goals. There are two good reasons for this. Firstly, companies could retain people who look back at their employers as long-term partners and not just a place of work. Secondly, an increasing number of employees nowadays perceives L&D as important. This module shall examine various L&D strategies and programs that could be used by manufacturing businesses for strengthening their HR function and better talent management.
Finance in business is about how well a company manages its financial resources. By that measure, it is about ensuring solvency of the firm, maintaining short and long-term liquidity and healthy working capital, maintaining the balance between debt and equity, reporting ROI and profitability, identifying investment opportunities, and many more. With changing rules and regulations, the impact of technological developments, economic and political factors, complex business models and evolving strategies and other environmental factors, financial management has become very dynamic and complex. This module shall explore the scope of financial management in a modern-day manufacturing enterprise and the importance of process orientation in the finance function.
The role of the accounts department is to record and report the financial transactions of an enterprise as per the applicable standards of accounting. In other words, the books of accounts should be able to explain where the money went. In practical scenarios, the accounts department is responsible for activities like checking and payment of bills, payment to suppliers, ensuring banking compliance, giving effect to cash and bank deposits and transfers related to business activities, payment of salaries, preventing and detecting errors and frauds, reconcile accounts payable and receivables, compute and pay taxes on time, etc. From recording of transactions to giving effect to transactions, certain procedures must be followed to ensure that everything goes in the right order towards the desired output. In this module, various important accounting processes and SOPs shall be elaborated.
Defining the scope of administration is hard. In small enterprises, administration represents the total of all the support functions if there is no specialized department for a given task. For instance, if there is a delay in the payment of salaries or the printer runs out of ink, the admin department is called. In larger organizations, the role of the administration department shrinks to office management. Irrespective of the functions allotted to an administration department, the tasks must be carried out following the due processes and procedures. This module will shed light on designing processes and procedures for various administrative tasks.
To ensure that the SOPs are implemented into the business systems, DFX experts shall identify and define the various software requirements and their inter-functionalities. This shall help ensure that a robust IT architecture is built and incorporated into the business systems to achieve process excellence. DFX shall also identify the shortcomings in the existing software systems and recommend solutions.
To ensure that the SOPs do not simply remain on paper and are deeply embedded with the business functioning, DFX shall work to ensure that the SOPs are well-integrated with the business IT system used across the organization. DFX shall identify the error-prone areas emerging from human interventions and seek to reduce or eliminate such loopholes. This will help secure the true purpose of having an enterprise software platform by making the business functioning more process-dependent rather than being dependent on unwarranted human intervention. DFX shall prepare a document for the software team to help them understand the business requirements and develop the business IT system accordingly.
Planning and defining business processes must also be followed by providing training to employees. It helps in adapting to the new or changed ways of working. The process owners become convergent with the processes to carry them out more efficiently and effectively. Process training is an important component of SOP consulting services for manufacturing industry. DFX shall provide the necessary process training for better and smooth implementation of SOPs.
Audits are important for manufacturing process improvement. What is more important is how these audits are planned and carried out. If the audit is faulty, it will not accomplish its goals. From defining the audit procedures to the creation of the reporting formats, auditing is a complex activity requiring specialized expertise. DFX team shall prepare a Process Audit Toolkit. This can be implemented by the corporate governance team. It will enable businesses to carry out the internal process audits on their own.
1. Need Analysis/ Gap Analysis
2. Assigning SPOC
3. Input Sessions
4. Process Thinking & Designing
5. Output Session
6. Quality Check
Step 01 - Request for Quote
Step 02 - Service Quote Finalization along with SLA (Service Level Agreement)
Step 03 - DFX Experts start working on your business
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